Did you know that creating healthy meal plans can help make cooking healthy meals less challenging? We’re all busy! Many times, the easiest thing to do is to reach for a box of some processed food in order to get dinner on the table. Making real, whole food meals can take a little longer to plan and cook. Real food also spoils easily if you don’t use it in consistent meals. In addition to that, if you’re living with a health challenge, you may not have tons of energy to spend time making dinner after working all day.
Have you ever thought of using a meal plan? Needless to say, creating healthy meal plans is an endeavor that can be immensely beneficial. Whether cooking for a large family – or just for one – taking time to carefully craft meals not only saves you money, effort, stress and time, but it will also likely improve yours and/or your family’s eating habits. Creating health meal plans should be a relatively simple and painless process – and most importantly, one that achieves the following benefits.
(1) More Efficient Shopping
When meal planning becomes a habit, you will, inevitably, be able to shop for ingredients/groceries more efficiently because you’re aware of what you need before you go to the grocery store. This eliminates those annoying times where you have to forego an ingredient because you’ve run out. In addition, you will also avoid your food going to waste. Are you like me – you purchase a food item intending to use it for a meal, then you find it stuck in the back of your refrigerator a couple weeks later going bad because you forgot to use it in a different meal.
(2) Healthy Meal Plans Saves Time
Whether you work outside of the home or a stay-at-home mom, we all have busy schedules. The last thing you probably want to do at the end of a long, stressful day is add additional stress of crafting a last-minute meal. Instead of leafing through recipe books – or resorting to “what you always have,” meal plans allows you to spend more time with your family.
(3) Eat Healthier
Meal planning allows us to eat healthier. Knowing in advance what your meal schedules look like means you typically don’t resort to eating out, or purchasing impulse foods. When you plan your meals, you can avoid consuming these nutritionally-deficient foods.
(4) Enjoy Variety of Meals
Another benefit of healthy meal planning is that you are able to enjoy a variety of foods. Instead of cooking the same meals day in and day out, you can plan menus in such a way that you are always trying something new. For instance, you could cook a meatless dish on Monday, chicken on Tuesday, beef on Wednesday, turkey on Thursday, and leftovers on Friday. For those of you with children, this is especially helpful if they are picky about what they eat. You can involve them in meal planning so that you can be certain that they will enjoy whatever dishes are served.
Are You Ready to Give Healthy Meal Planning a Try?
I use an online meal planning website called Real Plans, which I highly recommend. It’s especially great if you need to follow a specific diet. On the website they offer over 1500 recipes. They also give you the flexibility to import other recipes which you want to include in your planning. This online meal planning site provides a lot of flexibility for your specific needs. In addition to the benefits that typical meal planning provides, Real Plans provides many more. You can find more information here. I hope you take advantage of Real Plans and start eliminating the stress of what’s for dinner!